Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Return of "Hanoi Jane"

Six years ago, when I was involved in the Veterans for Kerry movement, this email started being sent around along with a photoshopped picture of Jane Fonda with John Kerry. It was a repeat of one that first started making the viral circles in 1999, when Jane appeared on ABC's list of "Women of the Century".

Back then the whole Hanoi Jane thing hadn't been very well researched and people were willing to believe anything they heard about her, even to the point of buying into this nonsense. And I guess things haven't changed very much. People are still stupidly angry about this, and six years ago when I did "respond all" reply about the lies in the email, I got death threats -- yes, death threats!

Now the same email is making the viral rounds, but this time Barack Obama's name is thrown into the mix because… well, I don't know why and neither, apparently, does anyone else, except for the belief that he is a traitor equal with or even surpassing Hanoi Jane.

So here's the text of the email – I've had to clean up the punctuation and the spacing to make it more understandable (not that it helped, but I'm not responsible for the content, just the presentation)

Subj: Never Forgive a Traitor
*Never Forgive A Traitor* For those of you too young to remember *_Hanoi Jane_ *is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that can not be forgiven!!!!
* and now OBAMA wants to honor her......!!!!
In Memory of LT. C.Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton*
_ She really is a traitor_.
This is for all the kids born in the 70's and after who do not remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear..
Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.' BY BARBRA WALTERS
Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam*
The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat.
In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the ' Hanoi Hilton.'
Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.
He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant 's feet, which sent that officer berserk.
In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.
From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton',,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.
They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived.
Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it , in the palm of his hand.
When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.
She took them all without missing a beat.. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper..
Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.
I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam , and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.
I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia ; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot , South Vietnam , whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)
We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals....'
When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her..
I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient.'
Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.
These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget....' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.
There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can.. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.
RONALD D. SAMPSON, CMSgt, USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron, Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343*
Okay, aside from the fact that this first surfaced in 1999 (that was when the Women of the Century list was published), what else does the writer have wrong?

Pretty much everything, it seems.

Snopes has a very long article, Hanoi'd with Jane which debunks nearly every point in this email:
Were Jane Fonda's actions treason, or were they the exercise of a private citizen's right to freedom of speech? At the time, the legal aspects of this question were moot: President Nixon was engaged in trying to wind down American involvement in Vietnam and had to face another election in a few months, so politically he had far more to lose than to gain by making a martyr out of a prominent anti-war activist. (No requirement in either the Constitution or federal law states that the U.S. must be engaged in a declared war, or any war at all, before charges of treason can be brought against an individual.)
On the one hand, Jane Fonda provided no tangible military assistance to the North Vietnamese: she divulged no military secrets, she gave them no money or material, and she did not interfere with the operations of the American forces. Her actions, offensive as they were to many, were primarily of propaganda value only. On the other hand, Iva Ikuko Toguri (also known as "Tokyo Rose") was convicted of treason for making propaganda broadcasts on behalf of the Japanese during World War II (although she claimed her betrayal was forced and was eventually pardoned many years later by President Gerald Ford), and Fonda's efforts could fall under the definition of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." It is also undeniable that some American soldiers came to harm as a direct result of Fonda's actions, an outcome she should reasonably have anticipated.
The most serious accusations in the piece quoted above, that Fonda turned over slips of paper furtively given her by American POWs to the North Vietnamese and that several POWs were beaten to death as a result, are untrue. Those named in the inflammatory e-mail have repeatedly and categorically denied the events they supposedly were part of.
"It's a figment of somebody's imagination," says Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan, one of the servicemen mentioned in the 'slips of paper' incident. Carrigan was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and did spend time in a POW camp. He has no idea why the story was attributed to him, saying, "I never met Jane Fonda." In 2005, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Carrigan "is so tired of having to repeat that he wasn't beaten after Fonda's visit and that there were no beating deaths at that time that he won't talk to the media anymore."
The tale about a defiant serviceman who spit at Jane Fonda and is severely beaten as a result is often attributed to Air Force pilot Jerry Driscoll. He has also repeatedly stated on the record that it did not originate with him.
Driscoll said he never met Fonda, as the e-mail claims — and therefore, never spit on her and didn't suffer permanent double vision from a subsequent beating. "Totally false. It did not happen," Driscoll said.
"I don't know who came up with [my] name. The trouble that individual has caused me!" he said, referring to the time he has spent repeatedly denying the persistent myth.
Mike McGrath, President of NAM-POWs, has also stepped forward to disclaim the story: Please excuse the generic response, but I have been swamped with so many e-mails on the subject of the Jane Fonda article (Carrigan, Driscoll, strips of paper, torture and deaths of POWs, etc.) that I have to resort to this pre-scripted rebuttal. The truth is that most of this never happened. This is a hoax story placed on the internet by unknown Fonda haters. No one knows who initiated the story. Please assist by not propagating the story. Fonda did enough bad things to assure her a correct place in the garbage dumps of history. We don't want to be party to false stories, which could be used as an excuse that her real actions didn't really happen either. I have spoken with all the parties named: Carrigan, Driscoll, et al. They all state that this particular internet story is a hoax and they wish to disassociate their names from the false story.
Despite the claims of hundreds of Vietnam veterans who maintain they were "there" and can affirm these tales as true, Jane Fonda actually met with only a handful of American POWs in North Vietnam, and even they have spoken out on the record to disclaim the story: "The whole [e-mail] story about Jane Fonda is just malarkey," said Edison Miller, 73, of California, a former Marine Corps pilot held more than five years. Miller was among seven POWs who met with Fonda in Hanoi. He said he didn't recall her asking any questions other than about their names, if that. He said that he passed her no piece of paper, and that to his knowledge, no other POW in the group did, despite the e-mail's claims.
In fact, Fonda carried home letters from many American POWs to their families upon her return from North Vietnam.
Okay, another question: Who the fuck is Ronald D. Sampson? A casual reading of this email might lead you to believe that HE was the POW who was tortured ("I spent 27 months…" "I was on a rocky floor…"

Actually he was not there. His name does not appear on ANY lists of POWs (see for example, POW Network) and it's tempting to think he's one of those Stolen Valor dickwad wannabe's, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and choose to decide that the email just got garbled in the viral spread.

Here's more from Snopes:
The source of the story about a prisoner forced to kneel on rocky ground while holding a piece of steel rebar in his outstretched arms still affirms that account as true, though. Michael Benge was a senior agro-forestry officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who was working in South Vietnam when he was captured by the Viet Cong in 1968 and held prisoner for five years:
He was at a Hanoi prison in 1972 when a political officer he hadn't seen before asked whether he would like to meet Fonda. "I said yes," he wrote in a 1999 letter that protested the Fonda honors, "for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese."
Benge said he doesn't know who pilfered his story from his letter and attached it to the Carrigan and Driscoll fictions.
In the 1972 incident, "I think I had maybe a little smarter-than-the-average bear [political officer] who knew I was being cynical," Benge said recently. Benge said he spent the next three days kneeling on a rocky floor with a steel bar on his outstretched hands. Whenever his arms dipped, he was struck with a bamboo cane, he said.
North Vietnamese guards might be the only people able to verify Benge's torture account independently. But, McGrath said, Benge's account is "consistent with [North] Vietnamese policy and conduct about people who didn't cooperate."
If you are the recipient of one of these Hanoi Jane emails, I would hope that at the very least you will trash it and not pass it on. Passing these things on without checking into their veracity actually dishonors people like Jerry Driscoll and Larry Carrigan. It is calling them liars, and that, incidentally, is the best pushback you can have to the person who sent you the email in the first place.

That is how I handled it, and the person who sent it lost no time in sending out the correction to everyone he sent it to.

I don't know how many of those have resulted in death threats, but I'm willing to bet that he got some.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking a Few Days Off

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, with all that that implies... Those of you who are from "families" know what I mean. I'll be taking on my IBIL* with a full load of verbal double-ought buckshot, and since I can't really eat anything, I'll be on my absolute best behavior...

I have a temporary cap on my back molar with an injunction from my dentist not to eat anything that could fuck it up. Which means that I'll be drinking my Thanksgiving dinner. Which means I may say something I could end up regretting later, when the IBIL burbles something in praise of the Rethugs or the Teabaggers or Michelle Bachmann or Mama Grisly or the US Chamber of Commerce...

Which means that even if She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed manages to bail me out of jail in time for the pumpkin pie, I'll still need a few days to recover.

See you next week.


[*IBIL = Idiot Brother-In-Law]

When Even Motor Trend is Against You... know you've crossed some kind of line.

Except if you are Rush Limpdick, the pimple-assed draft dodger, who recently went on a rant about the new Chevrolet Volt being named MT's Car of the Year.

From what I can tell, Rusty doesn't like it because he doesn't like it. He's never driven one, he's never even seen one. But it's electric and doesn't use a lot of gasoline, so it must be bad.

Motor Trend, surprisingly, unwilling to buy into the whole "That's just Rush being Rush" justification that the rest of the media uses an excuse not to call him on his bullshit, shot back -- and shot back big -- in a column by Todd Lassa, called Rush to Judgment:

You said, “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”
So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since … I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person?
Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.
Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.
Chevrolet has not sold one Volt because it’s not on sale yet. It will not sell 10,000 this first model year (although GE plans to buy truckloads for its fleet), because it takes time to ramp up production. See, Rush, because we’re the World’s Automotive Authority, we get access to many cars before they go on sale.
Rush to Judgment imageBut, harrumph. In its attempt to force cars that don’t use much gas on us — how un-American/un-ExxonMobil/un-Halliburton is that? — the Obama administration is offering a $7,500 tax credit on the Chevy Volt, grabbing tax breaks and credits right out of the deserving, job-creating pockets of America’s richest individuals. How dare he?
This is another of your distortions, Rush, repeated by the otherwise more level-headed George Will in The Washington Post last Sunday. The $7,500 Obama tax credit is an expansion of President Bush’s hybrid credits from the last decade. The Obama tax credit extends to the new Nissan Leaf, too, but if you or Will slammed that car, I’ve not heard or read it. I’d be surprised if you did, though, as Nissan is building the Leaf in a non-union factory in a right-to-work state represented by two Republican senators. A factory located there because Tennessee offered Nissan big tax credits. Maybe you’re worried that if the $7,500 tax credit works, too many people will buy the Volt, and that could reduce the need for oil drilling tax credits?
Nyuk, nyuk nyuk...Take that, asshole.

There's more to this, so be sure to check out the whole story, and especially the last line. There is also a ton of comments on it, and there are surprisingly few dittoheads in there, but a lot of people who are going to subscribe to MT because of this.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let the Rehab Begin!

I'm talking about the rehabilitation of George W. "War Criminal" Bush. Not a real rehab, mind you, just his reputation.

He's just published his obviously ghost-written book, he's making the rounds of friendly journalists and he's trying to pass himself off as being the reluctant one when it came to the Iraq war.

Jesus, does he know no shame? Bad question, of course not.

But why is this happening? Why is it happening now?

I have two answers to that:

(1) It's been two years since the fucker was in office, long enough for the ADHD Moron-American Voting Bloc to forget about all the bad stuff he did, long enough for the Obama-haters over at Faux News (along with their card-carrying fellow travelers in the CPM* -- Matt Lauer anyone?) to gin up enough antipathy towards the current president that even Bush looks good by comparison. Plus who can remember, ten years after, that Bush was the cheerleader-in-chief for the Iraq war, that he said before he even ran for president that he was going to "get" Saddam Hussein?

(2) There's just two years until the next election, and the Bush name has to be "cleared" to pave the way for Little Jebbie to run for president.
Jesus wept. I hope that Caribou Barbie, aka Mama Grisly, stomps him in the primaries. I really do. You betcha! Jebbie would be out of the picture and she'd be easy to beat in the general election.

After all, I think we've already had enough members of the Bush Crime Family in the presidency. I doubt whether we could survive another one.

Okay, back to the question of rehab: I think Dubya really needs some. Anyone remember the stop-smoking program that administered an electric shock every time you tried to light up? I think Dubya would be well served by something similar. Say, something with 1,000 volts, and just enough amps to make smoke almost come out of his eyes... Just for a little while, say an hour or so, followed by a cooling off period under a dripping wet cloth placed strategically over his nose and mouth.

After all, "the lawyer" told him that it wasn't torture.

I'd like to know if he'd agree when it was being done to him...

[CPM = Capitalist Pig Media]

Monday, November 22, 2010

JFK Assassination Anniversary

Those of us of a certain age can tell you in great detail exactly where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with when we heard the news of death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963. But not all of us. Interestingly enough, former president George H. W. Bush, for example, couldn't recall where he was and what he was doing, nor could E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame...

Okay, before I go all tinfoil hat on you, I will tell you up front that I never believed in the official answers to the JFK Assassination.

I don't need to go into the whole thing, since by now everyone knows the story, and those who buy into the Warren Report are incapable of listening to evidence to the contrary, and those of us who believe that there was some kind of conspiracy going on have our usual suspects and we are not willing to entertain motions to dismiss.

A terrific blog on the assassination is Oswald's Mother, and it's one that should be required reading for even a casual student of the events of Dallas 1963.

Think you know something about Lee Harvey Oswald? Think you know everything? You'll change your mind after you read the four-part Oswald Was One Weird Dude.

And what is probably the most complete and best book on the real history behind the JFK Assassination is Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann's Ultimate Sacrifice:John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK, which is probably about as close as we are going to come to a "Unified Field Theory" of the Kennedy Assassination.

It's a pretty long book, but it is heavily footnoted and documented. And it is a "must read" for students and critics of the Warren Report and the subsequent government coverups of both the JFK and the Robert Kennedy Assassinations.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"...and the ground shook..."

Yea verily.

It came as a total surprise to me that Pope Benedict (heretofore known only for his eggs) actually is going to come out in favor of the use of -- shock! -- condoms.

But there's a caveat (there always is) to this: "Only in certain circumstances", he says.

Presumably that will include pedophile priests who are buttfucking altar boys, so the little angels won't have a demonstrable proof that Father Fuckmeindeass actually did little Johnny.

Given the advances in DNA evidentiary chemistry, it seems that once again the Catholic Church is one step behind (cue sneering chuckle) the rest of us...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Apparently Joe Miller Reads this Blog...

Yesterday I said, "Joe Miller needs to demand a recount -- something went wrong with the poll-stuffing machinery in Alaska this month..."

Today I see that Senate Loser Miller has asked a judge not to certify the write-in election.

Aside from the fact that the fucker is a sore loser, it rankles me that he would actually follow my advice and act like the spoiled child/Sarah-Palin-leg-humper that he is and throw a temper tantrum because he actually LOST the fucking election.

What an asshole.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fraud at the Polls

Okay, I'm not a fan of Dancing With the Stars. In fact, I've never even seen part of an episode, but I was in a conversation tonight with three of my guy friends whose wives watch the show, and no one could figure out why stiff-as-a-stick unmarried teen mom Bristol Palin was still in the competition.

Well, here's why: The Mama Grisly Palinistas have mobilized to stuff the ballot boxes, as it were, with votes for little Bristol:

While Bristol Palin denies any Tea Party conspiracy theories, there's no denying that conservatives have been pushing for votes for Bristol, using blogs and Twitter to start a movement. But what isn't widely known is the evidence—via message board comments on some conservative sites—that this mobilization involves fixing this (albeit meaningless) election through a technical snafu on ABC's website, which allows Palin's supporters to cast an infinite number of email votes...
Jesus, if they are willing to cheat on something as meaningless as this, then what would they be willing to do when it comes to the real thing?

Joe Miller needs to demand a recount -- something went wrong with the poll-stuffing machinery in Alaska this month...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Decision in Alaska

No, I'm not talking about the decision to change the channel before Sarah Palin's "nature show" starts, or ten seconds into it.

What I'm talking about is this: Finally, the Alaska senate race is over, and Lisa Murkowski has made history by being the first victorious write-in candidate in something like a million years.

I'm actually of two minds about the whole thing. I'm glad that Teabagger darling and Sarah Palin leg-humper Joe Miller lost, but the seat is still in the hands of the Rethugs.

So I'm not really celebrating, as such. Well, just a little in the way of schaudenfreude over yet another of Palin's hand-picked candidates biting the pillow dirt...

Today's Quote Worth Considering

Here's a quote that you may find interestingly descriptive. See if you can guess who said it and when.

The really dangerous American fascist... is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power... They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
I'll bet you would have guessed that the speaker was some modern progressive, e.g., Keith Olbermann or Big Eddie Schultz. But this was written by US Vice President Henry Wallace, and it appeared in the NY Times on April 9, 1944.

That was 66 years ago, but it describes with chilling accuracy what we are faced with today. He rather eerily predicts the rise of the current corporate oligarchy and the malevolent creation of Faux News.

Wallace was a seer, a futurist, a modern Cassandra, whose warnings we have ignored at our peril.

But we will anyway, because that vast Moron-American Voting BlocTM is still alive and well active, as was demonstrated in this month's midterm elections.
[HT to H.E.R.B. for reminding me about the Wallace quote]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The "Stolen" 1960 Election

Even though it's been fifty years, the hoary old urban legend about how Mayor Daley dragged dead voters to the polls to skew Chicago's totals, thereby handing the election to Kennedy when Nixon was the real winner, is still around.

Most recently in a letter to the editor of my own local newspaper:

A tribunal of the 9th Circuit ruled that because prisons house a disproportionate number of minorities, prisoners should have the right to vote.
Lost in the reasoning was the fact that, since minorities generally have lower life expectancies than whites, at any given point in time minorities are also disproportionately represented in cemeteries.
Using the same logic, dead people must, therefore, also have the right to vote.
Democrats in particular have long recognized this injustice, and to their credit have taken the lead in ensuring that votes of the deceased are counted.
Let’s not forget that it was dead voters in West Virginia and Illinois who put John F. Kennedy in the White House.
Here in Washington, King County Democrats in particular have been relentless in their pursuit of justice, and as a result, dead voters have tipped the balance in close races in recent years. They have done so again in this election.
Our hats should be off to them. Dead voters have become a powerful Democratic voting bloc, taking their rightful place alongside other powerful Democratic voting blocs such as felons, illegals, Trekkie-conventioners, and noseringed-Americans — all proudly standing up for the rights of the oppressed.
Okay, I'll give the guy points for cleverness. But cleverness is not smartness. Here's my reply:
Here we go again with the so-called "stolen" 1960 election, in which "dead voters" in Illinois swung Chicago and therefore the state of Illinois from Nixon to Kennedy, which in turn allowed JFK to "steal" the election from Richard Nixon. Philip Jones' letter (11-14) says so, and he also throws in a new and previously unidentified "dead voter" state, West Virginia (which went for JFK by a margin of 5.42% -- still close but not close enough to have “dead voters” make a difference).
However, the so-called “dead voter poll fraud” in Illinois, even if it were true, wouldn't have mattered because of the Electoral College: Regardless of popular vote, 269 electoral votes were needed to win. The final count was 303 Kennedy, 219 Nixon; 15 votes went to a segregationist-democrat candidate.
Illinois had a total of only 27 electoral votes and they were not enough to swing the election to Nixon.
Do the math: 269 votes needed to win; switch 27 Illinois votes from Kennedy to Nixon and it’s still Kennedy 276, Nixon 246.
Even if you dubiously throw in West Virginia’s 8 electoral votes, the final tally is Kennedy 266 and Nixon 254; with no one exceeding the 269 vote threshold the contest then goes to the heavily-Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, and Kennedy still wins.
I wish people would do just a little research into their opinions before displaying their ignorance for all to see. Looking up the 1960 election results took me about 6 seconds.
You can check it out for yourselves at Wikipedia's US Presidential Election 1960, Freakonomics' Did Richard Daley Steal the 1960 Election for Kennedy? and Slate's Was Nixon Robbed?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Glenn Beck and Anti-Semitism

Glenn Beck might be easily dismissed as just the latest in a line of self-created Anti-Semitic media demagogues (Father Charles Coughlan, anyone?), but for the fact that he is drawing a very large audience of low-information low-education viewers who hang on his every word.

And increasingly that word is "Jew". It's the Jews, physically embodied in Beck's favorite whipping boy, George Soros, who are tearing this country apart, whose "Jewish" banking has caused the current economic troubles, whose lavish "Jewish" monetary support of "socialist" and "communist" organizations, such as and Media Matters is resulting in the "takover" of this country by those fascist-communist-socialist-atheists...

Beck recently ran a three-day attack on George Soros, which began on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Coincidence? Maybe, but for someone who pretends to be such a fucking know-it-all expert on the whole Nazi thing, it's hard to swallow that it was just coincidence.

It's also especially hard for the Holocaust Survivor community, which had this to say:

Fox news commentator Glenn Beck may have thought he had an easy target in the controversial financier George Soros – but he didn't reckon with Jews who care about Holocaust remembrance and don't take kindly to reckless charges being thrown into the political maelstrom.
“It's totally over the top,” said Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman about Beck's latest outburst.
What Beck said: Soros, a child in Hungary who survived by living with a non-Jewish family, “used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off. And George Soros was part of it. He would help confiscate the stuff. It was frightening. Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps. And I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that, even had a choice. I mean, he's 14 years old. He was surviving. So I'm not making a judgment. That's between him and God. As a 14-year-old boy, I don't know what you would do. I don't know what you would do. But you would think that there would be some remorse as an 80-year-old man or a 40-year-old man or a 20-year-old man, when it was all over, you would do some soul searching and say, 'What did I do? What did I do?'”
Soros, Beck went on, “is not a fan of the state of Israel. George Soros is -- many people would call him an anti-Semite. I will not. I don't know enough about all of his positions on Jews. I know his mother, in George Soros's own words, his mother was an anti-Semite. And so he just has this weird, weird world view. He's also an atheist.”
Beck said he wasn't judging Soros – but that's sure what it sounded like to a lot of listeners.
The ADL's Abe Foxman is also a child survivor who lived only because his parents turned him over to his Catholic nanny.
. . .
The issue of the Shoah “is so sensitive that I'm not even sure Holocaust survivors themselves are willing to make such judgments,” Foxman went on “For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say, there's a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, that's horrific. It's totally off limits and over the top.”
Beck's comments “were either out of total ignorance or total insensitivity,” he said.
Glenn Beck is not a total moron. He knows what he is doing, and what he is doing is riding the crest of a wave that is old in history, even in American history. It's sometimes forgotten that the Ku Klux Klan had other targets besides black people: Catholics and Jews were also on the Hate List.

Henry Ford (yes, that Henry Ford) was a notorious anti-Semite in the 1920s, publishing an extremist rag called The Dearborn Independent, which was responsible for the first US publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Father Coughlan with his increasingly strident radio broadcasts was the wave rider in the 1930s, but after WWII and the liberation of the death camps, when the horrors of the Holocaust were finally known and almost undeniable, the American strain of Anti-Semitism had to go underground, as it were.

But it's still there, and all it's waiting for is the proper fertilizer and watering for it to spring into full bloom. And Glenn Beck is fertilizing it like crazy with all the shit that keeps spewing out of his mouth.

And don't forget that Glenn Beck is a Mormon, and if you scratch a Mormon deep enough, you'll likely come up with someone that doesn't like Jews: First of all, they've got a lot of nerve passing themselves off as "The Chosen People" when it is obvious from the Book of Mormon that they may have once had that designation but subsequently lost it. It's pretty obvious who has that mantle now if you just look at what the Mormons call Utah: Zion. Hence Zion National Park. Secondly, they for the most part remained in Europe during the great migration to the New World, which God had created and then let wither except for the early Jewish migrations thousands of years before Columbus. And as soon as they got here they started fighting each other with horses and chariots and whatnot, none of which have ever shown up in the archeological diggings, and then Jesus comes to visit and everything is fine for a while and then they start fighting again and pretty soon they are all dead except for the Indians who got to stick around but had their skin turned dark as a punishment. But it'll all be okay in the end since those who convert to Mormonism will become a "white and delightsome people".

I am not making this up.

So the Jews who remained in Europe somehow lost their "Jewness" and never got it back, which was okay since the Jews who first settled the Western Hemisphere couldn't keep theirs either, and now it's the Mormons who are God's Elect.

Anyway long story short, I suspect that Beck's Mormonism has more than a little to do with his Anti-Semitism, especially illustrated in his idolatrous worship of fellow Mormon (and pro-Nazi Anti-Semite) W. Cleon Skousen and his blueprint for Christian theocracy, The Five Thousand Year Leap.

I half expect to see The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on the required reading at Beck's so-called "university".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book of the Month: All Quiet on the Western Front

Since World War I, billed as the "war to end all wars" ended at 11:11 AM on the morning of November 11, 1918, I think it appropriate that my book of the month for this month is Erich Maria Remarque's remarkable anti-war classic, All Quiet on the Western Front.

Maybe you read it in school, maybe you read it, like I did, for "fun", maybe you saw only the movie on late-night television.

But to any veteran -- or anyone who knows a veteran or lives with a veteran -- this book captures wartime and the changes the soldier goes through, from initial patriotic jingoism to final despair like no other.

You owe it to yourself to read this book. Again. Or for the first time. Those who read my previous book selection, The Sorrow of War, will know why I, among so many others called it "The All Quiet on the Western Front of the Vietnam War".

Veterans Day

And I can't think of a better way to mark this solemn holiday than to present to you Patricia Haynes' Beatitudes for Veterans Day:

Blessed is the veteran of World War I, who spent his life exposing the horrors of war for those who fight in it and the willful deceit of those who declare it and seek stature from it. In his first anti-war novel, Erich Maria Remarque wrote "I see how peoples are set against each other...foolishly, innocently, obediently slaying each other ...While they [the promoters and boosters of war] continued to talk and write, we saw the wounded and dying...The wrong people do the fighting." All Quiet on the Western Front was banned in Nazi Germany.
Blessed are the children of veterans
who break the code of silence on the war that never ends: Living with the "attendant nightmares" of their veteran fathers and being "the objects of their war-ridden rage and war-honed violence." War Is Not Over When It's Over chronicles, through interviews and photos, the spill over of brutal violence against girls and women in five war-ruined countries. The author Ann Jones' own life was "darkened by war." Her thrice-decorated WWI-veteran father turned his war-fed anger and violence on her and her mother.
There is a lot more to this guest column at Buzzflash, so be sure to read the whole thing, and give some thoughts this day to the veterans you know, and especially the veterans in your own family. They may have gone through hell and back and survived it, and won't tell you about it because they want to protect you.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Grabbing the Youth Vote, Where Instant Gratification Takes Too Long

My good friend Debby, who has made an appearance in this blog before, sent me an email she got from a "Youth Voter" after she sent him a link to a valuable website,

Yes I have seen that. There are a lot of good things I didn't know or had forgotten about.
Doesn't mention the fact that the 26 year old extension deal doesn't apply to most everybody, that those who don't qualify for Obamacare are forced to buy private insurance, or that he campaigned as anti-war, yet sent 60,000 troops to Afghanistan. Doesn't mention him extending portions of the Patriot Act or his dedication to the War on Terror and support for Zionism and Palestinian ghettos in Israel. Hasn't done fuckall regarding NAFTA or the WTO, which from what I remember, he said he opposed. In fact, he's supported NAFTA much to the dismay of Mexican labor who had hoped he would remove the US from the organization. And for all this talk of oh, look he has appointed a record number of gays to office, there is little talk of him appointing Monsanto's puppet Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture.
I am tired of compromising. I am tired of corporate backed political parties. I am tired of vague and false promises of change.
I am really starting to understand why reformists and revolutionaries, historically speaking, do not get along even when they have the same or similar goals.
Naturally she sent it to me for informational purposes, but got back some comments:
Jeez, Mister Picky. I supposed if I gave him $100,000 in $100 bills, he'd whine, "You got any smaller denominations? Hundreds are kind of hard to break..."
Actually, I knew two years ago that we'd probably have a problem with "young voters" this time around, since their expectations were raised kind of high -- hell, too high -- by the Obama campaign. And we as Dems didn't seem to realize that, nor did the administration. It's a question of "message" and the failure to get it out. I'd never even heard of What The Fuck Has Obama Done So Far before, and it's a little late now to get that message out. The Dems needed to come out shooting and play smashmouth football ( I know I'm mixing my metaphors but still...) instead of pussyfooting around and still acting like the victim. We needed to expose the Rethugs for what they are and kick them to the side of the road and into the dustbin of history.
One of my granddaughters (age 18) told me that her friends "hate" Obama because he said he was going make marijuana legal and didn't do it(!).
Naturally I wised her up on that score and told her to wise up her friends as well, but the misinformation is out there and some of it we don't even know about since it flies under the radar much of the time.
But when you are young, you know all the answers and you think you just can't wait for incremental change to occur, let alone try to help it along. It's that odd mindset that is emblematic of youth: On the one hand you think you will live forever, while at the same time you think that instant gratification takes too long...
BTW I think that most of his criticisms are spot on. I know that I wanted an FDR and instead got a Bill Clinton, which will now be much more obvious after the election because Obama will think he'll have to move even more to the "center" -- where he already was, so in effect his move will be more to the right.
I've said for a long time that the Dems ought to mirror what the Rethugs do, which was to run from the center and govern from the Right. Dems should switch that, run from the center and govern from the Left. Obama I think wanted to do that, but he made some major errors in choosing his advisors, e.g., Rahm Emmanuel. Rahm Emmanuel? Really? Come on, Barack...
Well, there you have it. It's time for the Democrats to be real Democrats. I note that the vast majority of so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats lost their seats. And why not? If I'm going to vote for Republican "principles" and actions, I'll vote for a Republican, not for Republican-Lite, which is what the Blue Dogs in essence were.

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Fucking Outrage: An Open Letter to Phil Griffin

MSNBC announced today that Keith Olbermann has been suspended from the network for, get this, making three contributions to Democratic candidates. Never mind that Joe Scarborough on the same network made contributions to Republicans, never mind that the network's parent company, GE, made over $2 million in contributions to Republicans, never mind that ... well, I could go on, but fuck that. Read the story and you'll know the facts.

Here's the text of the email that I sent to Phil Griffin (, the head of MSNBC News:

Dear Mr. Griffin:
Your actions in suspending Keith Olbermann for political contributions are reprehensible and without precedent. By your curious double standard, it's perfectly okay for Joe Scarborough to have made contributions to Republican candidates but not for Keith Olbermann to make contributions to Democratic candidates.
Curious and disturbing.
As of this moment onward I will no longer watch MSNBC until Keith Olbermann is reinstated.
Have you no shame, sir? At long last have you no sense of shame?
I urge everyone to do the same. And someone needs to publish a list of MSNBC advertisers so we can send letters to them as well.

This is a fucking outrage, and it shall not stand.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Okay, I have to say something about yesterday's election:

The Good: The Teabagger gains were not what they could have been. Harry Reid won re-election, and The Wicked Witch of the East got a farmhouse dropped on her.

The Bad: John Boner and the Rethugs gained control of the House, so you can watch for some outlandish legislative moves, such as a doomed-to-failure-from-the-get-go attempt to impeach Obama ("crime" to be named later) and the gutting of the Farm Bill.

The Ugly: Washington's Third District, where I live, has gone Rethug and we will have a Teabagger-in-disguise "representing" us in DC; AND the race between longtime senator and friend-to-veterans Patty Murray and real-estate-developer/land-raping-deer-slayer Dino Rossi has gone into overtime and will have a mandatory recount.

Finally, I'm exhausted (the hangover from last night's victory party/wake might have something to do with that...) from all of the phone banking and going door-to-door to try to shake ballots out of reluctant voters, so I'm going to take a few days off from posting.

We all need to lick our wounds, but more importantly, we need to regroup and reload.

The 2012 Presidential Election Campaign starts today, and we have a lot of work to do in just two years; I am sure that my new congressional rep is going to get sick and tired of me and other like-minded liberals flooding her with requests, comments, rants and raves in the next 729 days. If you live in a Rethug-represented district, I advise you to do the same. Keep 'em on their toes, and never let them forget that they were elected to represent us as well as their Rethug buddies/corporate overlords/capitalist pig media barons.

See you next week, and thanks again for reading.

-- The F Man

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's Election Day!

So get off your ass and go

Monday, November 01, 2010

On the Lighter Side

Sometimes you gotta stop and smell the flowers -- worn by the clown. Here's a funny one that's currently making the rounds:

The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk,even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up..
He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car."
[HT to Cousin Darlene for this joke]